Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production in the North China Plain (NCP) is threatened by wheat lodging. Therefore, enhancing plant lodging resistance by improving stem quality traits is crucial to maintaining high stable yields of winter wheat. A consecutive 7-year field experiment was conducted to study the effects of stem traits on lodging resistance and the yield of four winter wheat cultivars (Bainong 418, Aikang 58, Wenmai 6 and Zhoumai 18). The results indicated that rainfall is often accompanied by strong winds that can cause lodging in the field. Stalk bending strength and wall thickness of the second internode showed significant negative correlations with lodging index, and a higher lodging index indicated increased lodging risk, which, in turn, could seriously affect the grain yield of wheat. Significant regression relationships were observed between lodging index and population lodging resistance strength, as measured using a crop lodging resistance electronic measuring device. Statistical analysis revealed that yield components and the grain yield of Bainong 418 were higher than those of the other cultivars; there was no significant difference between Bainong 418 and Aikang 58 in lodging index, stalk bending strength or single-stalk and population lodging resistance strengths at anthesis and the middle filling stages, but the mean plant height of Bainong 418 was significantly higher than that of Aikang 58. These results provide a new and reliable method for assessing lodging resistance capacity and indicate that greater lodging resistance, as determined by simultaneously considering plant height and basal stem strength, is an important way to achieve high, stable yield in winter wheat.
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Vol. 70 • No. 9